(Kate Frese/Sports Talk Philly)
When Flyers rookie forward Travis Konecny was injured there was immediate speculation as to who would get the call up from the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Many fans were pleased to hear Jordan Weal was getting the call and would have his chance to make an impression on the Flyers brass.
Weal had a strong training camp and has gone on to lead the Phantoms in scoring to date, ranking second overall in the AHL. Through 43 games, he has 15 goals and 32 assists for 47 points and is plus-11. His improved two-way game may have been the decision point that earned him the roster spot.
His defensive play earned him praise from Phantoms head coach Scott Gordon who recently compared him to Boston Bruins talented forward David Krejci.
“I love the way he competes defensively,” Gordon said of Weal. “His [offensive] numbers are great, player of the month and all that, but he’s setting himself up so that when the points don’t come, just like for David Krejci when he didn’t get the points in that third-line role, he was still making a contribution defensively by positioning himself right and making good decisions with the puck.”
Weal is nearly identical to Konecny in size standing 5'10" and 179 pounds. He brings speed, creativity, tenacity and the ability to put the puck in the net, something sorely missing from the Flyers play of late.
High level scoring at the AHL level is something that has never been difficult for Weal. He has won a Calder Cup while being the playoff MVP, Scoring 22 points in 19 games while going +12. He tallied 69 regular season points that year and 70 points the year before.
Weal has not yet made it onto the scoresheet, but he has been ferocious without the puck. He has an unbelievable Corsi for of 84.1 percent through his first two games with the Flyers. In the San Jose game alone, he finished with a Corsi rating of 90 percent.
Weal’s play did not go unnoticed by Flyers coach Dave Hakstol commented on the play of the new Flyer.
"It’s tough coming out of the blue line, coming out of your own end. I thought he did a really good job there," Hakstol said. "With the puck, I thought he was confident. He was quick. He held it and made plays."
Unfortunately for the Flyers, Weal's solid start was erased when he suffered an upper-body injury in Thursday's loss to Edmonton. At the moment, his status for upcoming games is unknown.
It is certainly a shame, with Weal being one of the Flyers better skaters during the last two games, that he may not get the chance to prove his worth and show his abilities at the NHL level. The Flyers have yet to get a long look at Weal against NHL competition and Konecny's injury provided an opportunity. For now, we wait to see just what Weal's status will be going forward.